The Last Gameboard

Role
UX Designer and Researcher
Duration
4 weeks
Overview The Gameboard-1 is an innovative, tabletop gaming platform  and technology device that merges physical with digital gaming still in its kickstarter phase. The Gameboard-1 is created by The Last Gameboard, a company that places high value on the community and their users. In order to give their users a seamless experience, they came to us to  design the flow and interactions of the setup.
Goals Develop the user flow for user setup upon start Develop interactions for user setup Determine where and how users adjust profile info Determine where and how users adjust settings

Discover

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Define

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Develop

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Deliver

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Discover

What is the Gameboard-1?

The Gameboard-1 is a brand new tabletop gaming platform that has yet to be released. We were challenged with designing for a platform in which we were unsure of all of the technicalities and we didn’t physically have with us. In our initial meeting with The Last Gameboard, we asked several questions to gain as much information on the platform as possible, but since it is still a work in progress there was still much to be determined. We explored a lot of unfamiliar territory during this project and were able to improvise and make use of what we had

Immersing into the Gaming World

My team and I collaborated on a research plan which involved conducting exploratory research on the market, as well as a competitive analysis to better understand similar platforms. It’s important to note that neither me nor my teammates are experienced in any type of gaming, so we had a lot to learn in only a couple of days. Initially we wanted to focus mainly on tabletop gaming, but being that this is a completely new field, there was very little information out there since most direct competing products are still in the development phase. We broadened the market to video games to get a better understanding of features and gestures relating to the most popular gaming platforms that would be more familiar to the users.

Nintendo Switch Home screen
Wizama, a similar product on the market

Empathizing with Avid Gamers

To better understand users’ desires of the Gameboard 1, we interviewed 9 gamers who were male, between the ages of 30-65 and funders of the kickstarter. We asked questions revolving around their gaming experiences, their pains, their pleasures, as well as hopes and anticipations of the Gameboard-1

Define

We created an affinity diagram to synthesize our data from our research and interviews

We established two user needs to concentrate on which became our problem statements.The macro being more general and the micro being more specific

Macro

Avid gamers need an intuitive and seamless way to set up because they want to spend their time in personalized, meaningful gameplay

Micro

Avid gamers need a simple way to connect their board to other devices because they want a more engaging and socialized gameplay when playing with multiple players

We also established design principles as our values and guide to align on moving forward

Mapping Out Scenarios

Now in the ideation stage, we began to imagine scenarios with the key tasks from our brief, figuring out what flows felt most natural. For each step, we came up with questions, ideas and comments to guide us while designing initial wireframe concepts.

We each chose a different scenario to guide us in creating divergent wireframe concepts. We wanted to explore a variety of designs that address our user needs and get feedback from both our users and client. I chose the third scenario, which included connecting to other boards, selecting player position, adjusting profile information, adjusting board settings and social sharing settings.

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When we met with TLG, we had a priority matrix workshop to narrow the focus on what is most necessary for the MPV

The wireframe concept here consists of a bottom sheet, or drawer, which holds the most used actions as primary buttons. This included the settings menu, menu for different ways to connect the board, and a rotation button.  Being that the concept testing was done remotely and on the computer rather than on the actual gameboard, I had to improvise. Testers had to imagine that each click was a hand gesture as well as specify which gesture they though the click was. The computer screen was also much smaller than the size of the gameboard, so the prototype was minimized to fit the screen. Below are some of the major findings of my concept against what the client had to say

The drawer slides up and down and can be accessed easily from anywhere. Image a is closed view, image b is opened

Originally, rotation was going to be used to select the player’s position where the player would rotate the board to their position and then swipe down to lock it in. However, since the drawer already used the swipe up and down, I only included the rotation portion for this concept.

Tapping the rotate button would allow the user to rotate the screen by sliding their hands in a circular motion on the edges of the board. When not activated, the screen is locked so users don’t accidentally rotate the screen

This idea mainly explored connecting boards together, but grouped similar connect options under connect. 

The board connection menu looks similar to wifi connection on the iphone and imac for familiarity. Connecting the boards was meant to be quick and easy as it only took a few taps. The list would show boards next to the main board and once tapped the board would instantly connect or disconnect. 

At this point, my team and I gained much more insight the technical capabilities of the gameboard that would have been much more helpful to have from the beginning. From here on out, we wanted 

Based on feedback from both the users and the client, I was able to  there were some difficult decisions that had to be made in figuring out how to incorporate the client’s feedback yet still be advocating for the user.

In order to align with TLG on the hierarchal organization of the Gameboard-1, my team and I held a card sorting workshop. We used this time to get any more insight on their ideas as well as technical capabilities and restraints we needed to know before moving forward.

Deliver

Visualizing the Organization of the Gameboard-1

My team and I converged our ideas based on user feedback as well as client feedback and mapped out the Gameboard-1. 

image7

When creating the prototype, due to time constraints, our team made a collective decision to prioritize tasks that relied the least on hardware because testing these tasks would give us more accurate results.

Outcomes